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We’re in that special zone between a rock and hard place. Like the massive prehistoric stone walls in Cuzco in which the stones were custom cut and placed without daylight between them, so too is our current predicament without room for error.

Because at once we cannot blame the victims of evil, but also cannot absolve them. We can’t blame a citizenry for being ‘dumbed-down’ to the point of a woke infant with dark shadows of political correctness that stretch to totalitarianism, and yet not hold the citizenry accountable for its lack of critical thinking, common sense and due diligence. It is precisely as said by an ancestor that, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” When the founding ancestors established the imperfect union they knew, even in its imperfect state, that the future of the fragile ‘democracy’ was fraught with peril.

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” John Adams, Notes for an Oration at Braintree, Massachusetts, 1772

The root of all evil is greed. Humans are infected with this disease. Indeed the entire point of a ‘representative’ versus an aristocratic government is because of human greed. The revolutions in the 18th through 20th centuries were the equal and opposite reaction of centuries of human greed which would rather die than share.

“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.”

Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, №15, December 1, 1787

So while we lament the defeated state of the citizenry, the warnings from the past were loud and clear. Without responsibility, accountability and virtue of those in leadership positions, then that leadership becomes autocratic and oppressive because the ‘passions of men’ is a code-phrase for vainglory. Just as worship of the messenger becomes a cult, the extolling of ‘leaders’ in government creates an aristocracy of power which ever consolidates itself into a tiny ball sitting atop a pyramid scheme wearing a crown. There is a reason that ‘democracy’ does not last. It is not the system that is faulty, but those who seek to run the system that lack qualification. If there are no checks and balances upon the quality of people who are entrusted in positions of power of the state, then the state, no matter its form, is doomed to failure.

The United States of America is a failed state. But what other outcome is probable when the teaching moments of the past are not learned. The passions of men fueled the revolutions, but failed to preserve the people. The fall from grace of the imperfect union was inevitable. There is no such thing as a slow motion train-wreck. The slow motion comes from seeing the wreck coming and failing to do anything about it, but watch it happen. The train does not slow down, but our ability to think in past, present and future tense allows for hindsight, horror and heartbreak in a single moment.

None of this is rocket science, but social science, the observation of decay and entropy as a dream fades away to stardust. We’re warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing and that the way to identify them is ‘by their fruits.’ Be they figs or thorns.

Look at the fruit of the imperfect union — mired in an abyss of debt, a people in dark despair, and ‘leaders’ laughing their way to brunch and the bank. There is a worship of military despite never winning a war. There is rhetoric and jingoism that no one believes yet no one questions because while polls show ¾ of a people have no faith in their ‘government’, the people choose to hate their neighbor more and dutifully perform the civic duty of the ballot box, to give the required rubber stamp needed by a government of its people to claim its legitimacy. Along with the dumbing-down comes the project of fear against the ‘other’ segregated between blues and reds to the point of civil war that distracts from the true enemy above. The 50% who say a pox on both houses are unpatriotic not to join the existential battle between good and evil as represented by the red and blue. The ‘people’ aren’t the sum total, but only those who participate in the Party System. The fruits are clear to see in a politics of bribery and graft, a for-profit commodification of creation, endless profit-based wars spun out of complete lies, and the ideology that life is a privilege and not a birthright; these are the fruits of a nation founded in the pursuit of happiness, but hi-jacked by the original sin of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

We live in a landscape of desolation where billionaires are revered and everyone else is a revenue stream for billionaires, and to question the status quo is to declare a Class War against Freedom. We have gone from ‘god is dead’ to the worship of false prophets whose message is that greed is good and love is for suckers. The evil created by the concentration of wealth in the service of vainglory is the true existential crisis of our time.

Extinction is as evil does.

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Gottlieb is a writer/actor/director. He is the author of the novel The Fourth Wall.

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M. A. Gottlieb

M. A. Gottlieb

Gottlieb is a writer/actor/director. He is the author of the novel The Fourth Wall.

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